Black Boxes in Polish Mines

Saving Lives

Saving Lives

The first ‘black boxes’, devices that gather information about climate conditions and hazards in underground mines, will be introduced in five Polish mines in June. Work on the black box (AZRP) has taken several years. A consortium made up of ITI EMAG and Sevitel won the tender and became the main contractor responsible for the development of the black boxes. The first five devices will be installed in the four hard coal mines of Sośnica-Makoszowy, Murcki-Staszic, Wujek-Śląsk, Borynia-Zofiówka-Jastrzębie at particular risk from methane leaks and the copper mine of Polkowice-Sieroszowice at risk from hydrogen sulphide leaks. The AZRP devices were shown to journalists at the Polish State Mining Authority (WUG) in Katowice on Friday. The detectors measure gas concentration, air temperature, humidity and the speed of air flow. The consortium highlights the fact that measurements will not only be used to establish the reasons why disasters have happened but will also prevent them from happening. The concept arose after the mining disasters in the Halemba mine in 2006 and the Ruch-Śląsk mine in 2009. Forty-three miners died in these two accidents. The devices were funded thanks to the support of the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOŚiGW). Around PLN 2 million was allocated on the project. This includes the costs of production, research, design, the prototype and training people how to use and maintain the devices. Mirosław Koziura who is the acting president of WUG highlighted the fact that there are no similar devices installed in any mine in the world at the moment. If the black boxes prove to be successful, more will be installed making Poland a pioneer in the monitoring of hazards in mining.

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